Musings with Rich: Fun to be back in the gym
By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – Oh what a joy it was.
I, along with hundreds of other fans, attended the De Pere-West De Pere boys’ basketball game Dec. 4 at West De Pere High School.
I had been feeling under the weather for about a week before the game, so when I finally started feeling better the Thursday before, I was excited to make arrangements to attend.
The Phantoms, members of the Bay Conference and playing in their third game of the season, had started the year 2-0 and had been playing great ball.
De Pere, members of the Fox River Classic Conference and preseason ranked No. 1 in Division 1, is a dynamic team with two Division I recruits in junior John Kinziger and 6-foot-8 sophomore Will Hornseth.
The Redbirds were playing their first game of the season.
I’ve watched Kinziger improve his game during his first two seasons at the point guard position.
He’s been getting Division I looks, including from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
There are many great players in the area, but I believe it should be at the top of every basketball fan’s list to see Kinziger play.
He poured in 31 points and surpassed the 1,000 career point barrier in De Pere’s 88-67 victory over West De Pere.
Hornseth is skilled for a sophomore big man.
He started slowly but had a nice spurt to begin the second half.
As De Pere Head Coach Brian Winchester told me after the game, “When we got the combo of Will (Hornseth) and John (Kinziger) going, that was the difference in the game.”
I was also impressed with the fan sections from both schools.
They sat across from the players on the opposite side of the gym from parents, mere feet from each other.
I didn’t hear any obscenities yelled, and it appeared everything was in good fun.
When junior Gabe Herman, who doubles as De Pere’s quarterback on the gridiron, got stuffed on a play, the West De Pere student section yelled, “Stick to football!”
My daughter and I got a good laugh out of that one.
The Phantoms stayed with the high-flying Redbirds early into the second half, with the game tied at 49-49.
Honestly, I expected De Pere to run away with the game early, but that didn’t happen.
There must be something that energizes an underdog team in a rivalry game.
In this case, it’s 2.4 miles and the Fox River.
Using their depth, the Redbirds pulled away for the victory.
The De Pere student section got the last laugh when they yelled, “This is our house!” late in the game.
At least for one game, it was De Pere’s house.
It was fun to be back watching basketball in front of a packed house and not thinking about COVID-19.
Because they play in different conferences, the two teams won’t play again this year, so fans will have to wait until next season to be a part of the fun again.